Sant Jordi is a special day for Barcelona, with much more to it than books and roses. The occasion promotes the city as a literary capital, its readers and its leading position in the publishing sector. A host of activities based around books are being organised, inviting people to take part in cultural pursuits as Barcelona celebrates Sant Jordi.
Young readers get things under way ahead of Sant Jordi with the 14th edition of Món Llibre. On 14 and 15 April, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), the MACBA, Pl. Joan Coromines and Pl. Àngels will all be hosting activities, workshops, presentations and a string of other activities ahead of the big day, helping young children engage with the creative universe of books.
The city’s libraries will also be getting into gear ahead of Sant Jordi, with the sixth edition of the blood donation campaign, conducted in collaboration with the Blood and Tissue Bank to boost stocks following Easter. This year’s campaign is on 19 April and is being organised at the Jaume Fuster and Poblenou – Manuel Arranz libraries.
The opening speech on reading, the Pregó de la Lectura, will be given in the afternoon in the Saló de Cent at the City Hall. This year’s speech is by Almudena Grandes, who will be speaking to Antonio G. Iturbe about the influence reading and libraries have had on her work. The following days, 20 and 21 April, will see writers such as Amélie Nothomb, Carme Riera, Philip Pullman and Albert Sánchez Piñol taking part in literary dialogues for Sant Jordi, an activity aimed at bringing writers and their readers closer to one another to speak about their books.
Readers will also be able to rediscover one of Barcelona’s most important literary figures this year for Sant Jordi, with the reedition of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s Barcelones. One of the places to find the book is the Sala Ciutat, the booskshop specialising in publications about Barcelona and which also acts as a showcase for talented Barcelona illustrators with its Altell Il·lustrat display area. The new illustration created by Lalalimola (pseudonym for Sandra Navarro) will be on display there as from 19 April.
The eve of Sant Jordi brings the Nit del Drac, a tribute to figures from Catalan literature who are celebrating anniversaries. This literary evening is being held outdoors, in Pl. Rei, and includes texts by Joan Brossa, Manuel de Pedrolo, Montserrat Abelló, Vicent Andrés Estellés, Maria Aurèlia Capmany and Maria-Mercè Marçal.
Sant Jordi also includes an open day at the City Hall, stalls selling books and roses, book signing by authors and more, all starting with an innovative event: the Sant Jordi breakfast. As a UNESCO City of Literature, this new event brings together writers, publishers, journalists, booksellers and writers’ associations in homage to all those whose life revolves around books.